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News Briefs

It’s school board election season, and board positions are opening up at Lane Community College and Eugene School District 4J. Two candidates, one for LCC and one for 4J, are ready to fill soon-to-be-empty spots, running on platforms of affordability, equity, transparency and more.

The latest brewery to bubble up in the Willamette Valley is getting ready to take off, and you can help make it happen. Old Growth Ales recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for equipment, truck upgrades, licensing fees, marketing and other expenses. The end goal: to make locally sourced botanic and medicinal ales commercially available. 

In 2003, a Lane County Animal Regulation Advisory Task Force Report said that the animal shelter shared by Lane County, Eugene and Springfield was in need of a “thorough overhaul or a complete replacement” and 60 more kennels. Instead, First Avenue Shelter, which is home to the area’s strays and now run by Greenhill Humane Society, has the same 30 kennels it has had since the 1970s and is stretched beyond its capacity, according to longtime shelter volunteer Misha English. 

Oregon might be seen as a green and healthy state, but its laws protecting people, pets and lands from the chemicals drifting from aerial herbicide sprays are weaker than the laws in Idaho, Washington and California. Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics hopes a new bill introduced into the Oregon Legislature Feb. 10 could change that. 

For the first two weeks of the legislative session in Salem, Sen. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene) has focused all his attention on passing the clean fuels bill. But he also has several bills to foster a healthier environment for Oregonians in the works.

The next “big” bill Edwards says he’ll be working on is the Children’s Toxics bill (SB 478). He started work on the bill back in 2013, but he says supporters were unable to get it passed because not all Democrats voted for it. He says after several iterations, it is “a better bill now.”

Eugene has bulldozed hundreds of historic homes and commercial buildings over the years, many with architectural as well as historic value, and the destruction continues. But not all have been lost. So what is it like to get an old and significant home or office building designated as a City Historic Landmark (CHL) or other designation in Eugene? The benefits include tax credits and assessment freezes, low-interest loans for rehabilitation and more.

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4600, plans to ground and aerial spray 367.5 acres near Farman Creek, Coyote Creek and Gillespie Corners with atrazine, clopyralid, hexazinone, sulfometuron methyl, Crosshair, Grounded, Foam Buster, Odor Mask and/or No Foam. See ODF notification 2015-781-03426, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

When Lisa Gillis received a collections notice in the mail on Jan. 30 for a parking ticket nearly 10 years old, she says she was surprised. The date of the infraction, she explains, was in 2006, but she did not own the vehicle even then. “I sold that car in 2004,” she says. “I was so irritated.” Since she was not the legal owner, Gillis says she is trying to obtain documentation to prove she does not need to pay the fine of $24.01. 

It’s time for the Oregon Legislature to do its part to help solve eastern Oregon’s “juniper problem,” according to Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). 

Since the 1870s, the trees have flourished to an unnatural and dangerous extent, Parrish says. “It’s more like a weed than a nice part of the forest.” Her proposal is to assist juniper harvesters to get the trees out of the dry soil and into the marketplace. However, some conservation groups have concerns about the bill.

Weyerhaeuser Company, 746-2511, plans to aerially spray 47.8 acres and 96.4 acres near Mohawk River tributaries with Velpar DF, Velossa, Vista XRT, Transline, Sulfomet XP, Rodeo, Hardball, Crosshair, Epoleon N-100 odor masking agent, Foam Buster and/or No Foam. See ODF notifications 2015-771-02709 and 2015-771-02586, call Brian Dally or Nikolai B. Hall at 726-3588 with questions.

The city of Eugene recently sent Pacific Recycling (which appears in this space on a regular basis) a warning letter for Clean Water Act violations at its facility on Cross Street. The city’s letter warns Pacific Recycling for shoddy employee environmental training practices; failure to take stormwater samples that are representative of discharges; failure to employ erosion and sediment controls; and failure to provide secondary containment for a barrel of unknown material.

The Oregon “Right to Rest Act” will be introduced in the Legislature this week, according to the office of Sen. Chip Shields, a Democrat from Portland who is sponsoring the bill. The Right to Rest Act, which is also sometimes referred to as a “Homeless Bill of Rights” by some supporters, would decriminalize the everyday and necessary acts of sleeping, sitting, standing, eating or sharing food, according to Paul Boden of WRAP, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, which is pushing for bills in Oregon, California and Colorado. 

Lane County continues to move forward with its attempts to develop the community of Goshen much to the dismay of local land-use advocates. Goshen, just south of Eugene, is a rural industrial area that has been home to several mills and is the site of designated wetlands. Developing Goshen has become a pet project of Commissioner Faye Stewart. 

On Feb. 3, a wastewater feasibility study for Goshen done by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants was presented to Lane County’s Board of Commissioners for discussion.

Eugene’s food carts and trucks are sprinkled down West 11th, dotted around downtown and parked at Whiteaker breweries — their transitory nature means they’re not always easy to find. Once again, technology is here to save the day: The Street Food Eugene app for iPhone and Android debuted last month, making it a cinch to pin down your favorite food cart, check out new carts or find nearby carts. 

“This app could be a pivotal tipping point in the Eugene mobile food scene,” says KC Brooks, owner of Sammitch. As of press time, the app has been downloaded about 800 times.

The weather has been hitting us with record-breaking warm and dry temperatures recently. It would be nice to greet the recently blooming flowers with joy, but there’s reason for trepidation. These warm, dry days mean, as Julie Koeberle, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Services puts it, that “the snow has been elusive.” 

• Seneca Jones Timber Company LLC, 689-1011, plans to aerial and ground spray 69.9 acres near Crow Road with 2,4-D, atrazine, clopyralid, glyphosate, hexazinone. sulfometuron methyl, Crosshair, Foam Buster and/or Grounded. See ODF notifications 2015-781-02394 and 2015-781-02596, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

• Seneca Jones also plans to aerially spray 54.4 acres near Wolf Creek Road and 56.9 acres near Hamm and Territorial with some of the same chemicals listed above. See ODF notification 2015-781-02390, call Dan Men

In 1992, two neuroscientists, Richard Davidson and Clifford Saron, trekked into the hills around Dharamsala in north India to measure the brain waves of Tibetan Buddhist monks. Although the journey did not yield empirical data, it was a turning point in the careers of both men, and they went on to become leaders in the science of meditation. 

It’s National School Choice Week, a time for parents, students and teachers around the country to celebrate and recognize the diversity of school options available to kids. Sometimes all those options can be overwhelming — Eugene School District 4J alone has five alternative elementary schools.

Fortunately, the Jan. 31 Alternative Education Fair at the Eugene Public Library is here to help. The fair is a one-stop shopping opportunity for parents and students to chat with more than a dozen representatives from local charter schools, private schools and homeschooling advocates. 

• Swanson Brothers, 935-2231, plans to hire Nick’s Timber Services, 503-910-1120, to spray 33.5 acres near Vaughn Road and Sturtevant Creek with Glyphosate 5.4. See ODF notification 2015-781-05431, call Dan Menk at 935-2283 with questions. 

• Sean Martin, 520-9403, plans to spray 19.5 acres near Vaughn Road with Glyphosate 4 Plus and Triclopyr 3A (amine). See ODF notification 2015-781-05905, call Dan Menk at 935-2283 with questions. 

Rainsong Gates, an undergraduate in human physiology at the University of Oregon, says she transferred from Lane Community College to the UO a few years ago without getting her associate degree.

“I’d reached my credit limit at Lane,” she says, “and so I transferred to the UO. I’m a non-traditional student — I’ve been in college for the last four or five years — and it was frustrating that I hadn’t received anything from Lane after having spent that much time there.”

You might hear the cluck of chickens in certain Eugene backyards. As for turkeys, forget about it: Raising turkeys, as some backyard farmers may know, is prohibited in the city code. 

As more people get behind raising, growing, eating and drinking local, an issue like fowl ownership inside city limits becomes a greater part of the conversation. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a warning letter to Goshen Forest Products last month for Clean Water Act violations of Oregon’s industrial stormwater discharge permit. The permit requires Goshen Forest Products to sample stormwater discharges four times a year (with samples spaced out in time to better reflect actual conditions over the course of the rainy season) and to submit sample results to DEQ once a year. Goshen Forest Products failed to perform sampling at least 14 days apart during 2013-14.

For many college students, conflicts in the Middle East and tragedies in Africa are something they might click by in their news feeds. But for a group of University of Oregon students, rules that govern conflicts such as the Geneva Conventions aren’t just an abstract theory. 

Those couple days of icy, freezing temperatures last February might stick out in your mind, but while a brief spell of cold days may affect your personal impression of the weather, don’t forget that the climate is heating up across the globe, thanks to rising levels of greenhouse gases. 

Overall, 2014 was Oregon’s second hottest year since record keeping started in 1895, according to researchers with the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University. The average statewide temperature in Oregon in 2014 was 3 degrees above the average for the 20th century.